A TUC campaign that encourages staff to have a full lunch break and leave work on time tomorrow, fails to tackle the root cause of the UK’s long-hours culture, according to Croner HR consultancy.
The TUC has called on staff to work only their contracted hours as part of its ‘Work Your Proper Hours Day’ campaign.
More than five million people at work in the UK regularly do unpaid overtime, giving employers £23bn of free work every year, the union body claims.
It has declared that 24 February is the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime finishes the unpaid days they do every year and starts doing the work they are actually paid for.
But Richard Smith, employment services director at Croner, said while the campaign raised awareness of the unpaid overtime problem, it didn’t help employers to manage long-hours working.
“[Employers] need to assess whether a presenteeism culture, unproductive working methods, and stress are playing a part in this,” he said.
“A classic sign of stress is when an individual starts coming into work very early or working very late. However, the standard of their work may still be suffering, so they work even longer hours to compensate.”
Leaving work on time everyday, as the TUC recommends, won’t help change anyone’s life if they’re still stressing about their workload when they get home, Smith added.
“Employers should be addressing the root cause of the long-hours culture – and meeting their ‘duty of care’ to employees – by looking out for the signs of stress and taking action to reduce its cause.
“Employers should also monitor annual leave to ensure employees are taking their all-important holiday time to unwind and de-stress,” Smith said.